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Big game hunters from Texas are best known for their private ranch hunting. Axis deer fall under this category of big game and are not indigenous in Texas so that you can hunt them all year round. In Texas, Axis Deer are ranked in the same grouping as livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, and other exotic breeds available in the State as they are kept in ranches like livestock.
What is an Axis Deer?
Axis deer are also commonly known as spotted deer or chital deer. They originated from southern India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka and were introduced to Hawaii in the 1860s. The beautifully spread spots on an Axis’ deer back make it a unique type of deer indigenous in some parts of the American continent.
Many Axis deer are tamed and kept in ranches in Texas as you would do to domestic animals. However, a significant number of them still roam freely in the wild, where they can freely enjoy the warmth and enough supply of grasses.
In Texas, the Axis deer share food resources with the native white-tailed deer, and they seem to get along just fine. An Axis’ survival rate is higher than that of a white-tailed deer as they are more resistant to diseases. This higher resistance rate could be the reason they are not marked as indigenous in Texas.
A mature Axis deer is considered one of the most beautiful mature deer in the entire deer family thanks to its orange coat marked with white spots. Their antlers are large and can get to 30 inches in length but can only manage three points.
Another unique feature of Axis deer is that they possess good swimming skills, and you are most likely to find them near water sources as they don’t fear water. Axis deer can also give birth twice a year, unlike the native Texas deer.
Axis Deer Population in Texas
The current estimated population of Axis deer in Texas is 125,000 animals, with the population spreading around 92 counties in Texas. The Edwards Plateau boasts of hosting the highest population of Axis deer in Texas today. So if you are having plans of hunting Axis, then this plateau is the best spot to visit.
As much as Axis deer are now the most populous exotic ungulate in Texas, their numbers cannot match that of white-tailed deer in Texas. You are more likely to see their beautiful selves grazing or browsing along the lines or crossing the road, making you believe they are more populous than white-tailed deer.
How Did Axis Deer Get Their Way Into Texas?
Axis deer were never seen in Texas until 1932. This year, they were brought in as a game species in south Texas, and since then, they have freely roamed Texas’s streets to date. Thanks to the private ranchers who transported them throughout Texas into their private ranches, they are now spread throughout Texas. Over time, however, many Axis escaped and created a large, widespread population within Texas.
What Do Axis Deer Eat in Texas?
Understanding what Axis deer eat and, by extension, where they feed while in Texas is an essential piece of information you won’t afford to miss out on as a hunter. Axis mainly feed on grass, forbs, and various food that they can access through browsing and grazing.
They majorly prefer short green grasses but will not mind dining on Little Bluestem, Indian Grass, SwitchGrass, gramas, and paspalums. During the spring, however, they tend to eat a lot of sedges.
Your hunting experience will be a seamless one if you master these diets and make it your effort to find out where they are in plenty in Texas. Hunting down an Axis is easier when they are in their feeding spot as they have divided attention.
Does it Cost to Hunt Axis Deer in Texas?
If you thought hunting Axis in Texas is free, then you thought wrong. Hunting an Axis buck in Texas will cost you between $1,750 – $5,500. On the other hand, hunting an Axis doe will cost you between $350 and $800. Hunting in some ranches can be rewarding as they will include an additional 2-nights lodging and an Axis doe in the price you pay for hunting an Axis buck.
If you can, secure such ranches that include the cost of lodging to that of hunting an Axis buck. You will save a whopping $200-$600 that you would have paid for a separate lodging facility. In such facilities, you get an inclusive lodging service and three hot meals per day and drinks.
However, the nicer a hunting ranch is, the more you will pay for hunting the same size buck. You would hunt for a cheaper cost in a less exclusive ranch. Therefore, hunting prices vary depending on the size of the buck and the ranch services you are hunting from.
How Do You Purchase a Live Axis Deer in Texas?
You may be having a ranch, and in it, you want to include some Axis deer. There are various ways you could purchase live Axis deer for your ranch. These options include:
Purchase Them at Texas Exotic Livestock Auctions
At these auctions, you can have the chance to meet many species of exotic livestock. You can compare prices here and meet fellow ranchers and share knowledge on keeping the Axis deer.
Purchasing Them through a Trapper
A trapper understands the Axis deer well enough to know where to get you one. They will guide you on choosing the ideal ranch for purchasing your Axis deer and will charge you for the capturing and transportation services in addition to the overall deer’s price.
Buying Directly from a Game Ranch
If you do not want to use intermediaries, you can go directly to ranches and purchase Axis deer yourself. This is easier and could cost you a little less than when you use intermediaries to secure a purchase.
It is right to state that Axis deer are the most popular exotic ungulate to hunt in Texas. Their color and beauty might be the reason hunters pride in hunting them down. You’ll be proud of bringing one down when you eventually shoot down a big Axis buck in your hunting adventures. Get your gears on; it’s time to go Axis hunting in Texas.
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.